Smart Waste 2020

Danish-Slovenian Waste-to-Energy Consultations


The Danish Green Sector

Danish companies and organisations are at the forefront of green technology and knowhow. Energy efficiency has been a priority for Denmark for decades, which is why Denmark has become one of the most energy-efficient countries in the EU and the OECD. Energy consumption has been decoupled from economic growth. Today, more than 30 % of Denmark’s energy needs come from renewables. It is expected to reach 50 % by 2030, and by 2050, Denmark will be 100 % independent of fossil fuels altogether. This will partly be achieved through energy efficiency measures and energy savings in both domestic and industrial contexts.

Part of energy efficiency is using all resources to their full potential. 64% of Danish households are being supplied with district heating. In parts of Copenhagen, 98% of households are connected to district heating. Furthermore, almost 60% of district heating in Denmark is generated from renewables. An example of renewables used for this is waste incineration.

In order to combat congested and polluted landfills, resources must be subtracted from the waste for recycling, while the remains can provide a source of low-carbon energy through incineration. Each year, the Danish waste sector collects and processes 15 million tons of waste  and the Danish waste-to-energy plants convert the waste for heat and electricity production. Danish incineration plants are the cleanest and most efficient in the world, and they are part of the reason why less than 5 percent of the country’s waste goes to landfills.

Another example is that Denmark has utilised biomass to produce bioenergy for decades, in fact, the consumption of biomass for heat and power production in Denmark more than quadrupled between 1980 and 2009. Today, approximately 70% of renewable energy consumption in Denmark stems from biomass, primarily wood pellets, straw and wood chips, and in 2020, bioenergy will continue to make up the majority of total renewable energy consumption.

Intelligent energy is all about matching demand and supply of fluctuating, renewable energy sources through a flexible energy system. This implies sharing energy across borders in an integrated energy system, as well as using data, smart meters, smart grids etc. to create smarter cities and societies.

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About Denmark

Surrounded by sea on three sides and bordering mainland Europe on the fourth, Denmark has always been influenced by its surroundings, over time evolving into a nation with a proud maritime tradition. In fact, Denmark is the 5th largest maritime shipping nation in the world. In earlier times the homeland of sea-faring Vikings, Denmark underwent an enormous expansion through the determined efforts of a succession of kings in the Viking and Early Middle Ages. Over time Denmark shrunk to its current size: 43,000 square kilometres and 5.6 million inhabitants surrounded by 7,314 kilometres of shoreline. 

Nowadays a peaceful and technologically advanced society, Denmark has one of the highest standards of living in the world and a high degree of social, economic and gender equality. Despite their ideological disagreements, when it comes to crucial reforms and issues, Denmark’s political parties have developed a tradition for across-the-divide cooperation that dates back to the adoption of the first constitution in 1849, making for a stable political climate.

Denmark is currently the world’s sixth most globalized country, in part due to a very high degree of internationalisation among Danish companies. Danes have been repeatedly ranked first in terms of happiness, which to a large extent can be attributed to the Danish welfare system that combines a flexible labour market with comprehensive benefits and an active labour market policy. Free, tax-paid education and healthcare, a high level of mutual trust, and a 94 percent workplace satisfaction also serve to maintain a general sense of optimism and well-being.

With Danish culture, design, and New Nordic cuisine recognized around the world, and its well-known emphasis on green solutions and sustainability, Denmark continually aims to be at the forefront and often plays a bigger role than its size would suggest.

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